As per statistics from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year one in every three adults aged 65 and older falls. These falls can cause moderate to severe injuries such as hip fractures and head traumas and can even increase the risk of early death. Let us understand the reasons for the frequent falls amongst the elderly.
Aging causes impairment in vision. Age related vision diseases and not wearing glasses when prescribed can led to frequent falls.
Effects of Medications
Sedatives, anti-depressants, anti-psychotic drugs can cause disorientation which can result in falls.
Health Conditions/ Diseases
Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis are some of the medical conditions which could cause weakness in extremities, poor grip strength, & balance disorders which could led to falls.
Lack of Exercise
Aging brings about lethargy and reduced physical activity. This causes poor muscle tone, decreased bone mass, loss of balance and decreased flexibility which could be an underlying cause of a fall.
A majority of falls in the elderly population is due to the hazards at home. Poor lighting, loose and slippery rugs, lack of safety equipment can cause falls amongst elderly.
Surgeries such as hip replacement can cause a lot of weakness, pain and discomfort which makes them less mobile and can cause falls. Even though falls are inevitable amongst the seniors, some steps can be taken to prevent them.
Elders should be made to exercise regularly so that their leg strength and balance can be improved. This would make them more stable and would eventually cause lesser falls.
It is important to ensure that there is adequate lighting in the homes. Nightlights should be switched on at night so that there is proper visibility, especially when they have to get up to go to the bathroom.
Accessibility of the Things They Need
It should be ensured that all the things that our seniors need are easily accessible to them and should be ideally at their arm’s length so that they do not have to bend, lift or stoop unnecessarily.
It should be ensured that the homes are made safer for our elders. Adding grab bars inside as well as outside the tub or shower & next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of the staircases would help in making homes safer for them.
Caregivers can play a crucial role in preventing falls as they would supervise the seniors and provide them with physical assistance in moving around and exercise programs. They could try to minimize the environmental hazards such as wet floors, loose rugs, improper lighting which are leading causes of falls amongst elders.
Want more information, please see our additional posts as part of our month-long series dedicated to information regarding Senior Fall Prevention, diagnoses, treatment, prevention and care.